Published on January 12, 2012 by Carol
Marcus Amerman is an award-winning Choctaw bead artist, glass artist, painter, fashion designer, and performance artist, living north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is known for his highly realistic beadwork portraits.
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Marcus Amerman was born in Phoenix, Arizona in 1959 but grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington. He also studied at the College of Santa Fe, the Institute of American Indian Arts, and the Anthropology Film Center
His exploration of so many different genres of art overlap each other. For instance Amerman’s beadwork is integrated into clothing design. His outfits are featured in his performance art. His paintings and glass work use a vivid palette that is found in his beadwork. He has even create giant beads out of glass.
Amerman’s first foray into realism in beadwork was his 1993 Iron Horse Jacket, a studded leather jacket featuring a highly detailed and modeled image of Brooke Shields in beadwork. Later, he added portrait bracelets to his repertoire. He has portrayed many historical heroes in his beadwork, such as Lloyd Kiva New, as well a pop icons, such as Janet Jackson, and imagery inspired by comic superheroes is a current running throughout his work.
His paintings are expressive and often reflect his Choctaw roots, with Mississippian imagery. His work in glass also include Mississippian ceramic designs, but more often reflects contemporary designs, such as globes of the earth.
Amerman’s work is in such public collections as the George Gustav Heye Center, the National Museum of the American Indian, the American Museum of Natural History, the Heard Museum, the Portland Art Museum, the Sequoyah National Research Center in Little Rock, Arkansas, and the Museum of Arts and Design. He is the only artist to have his beadwork featured in Playboy magazine.
In 2008, Amerman was a Hauberg Fellow at the Pilchuck Glass School and artist-of-residence there in 2008. He and Tlingit artist Preston Singletary both taught at the school in 2006 as part of Iconoglass.
Amerman’s brother, Roger Amerman, is also an award-winning beadworker, specialized in traditional southeast designs. Their first cousin, Linda Lomahaftewa is renowned for her printmaking and painting, as was her brother and Amerman’s cousin, the late Dan Lomahaftewa.